Please Don't Invite Me To Another Virtual Happy Hour

4 Min Read

I woke up last Monday unable to get out of bed.

I was lethargic, had a faint headache, and could feel a sore throat coming on. I felt blue and just didn't want to move. Not so unusual given that many of us are confined to our homes and experiencing a flood of emotions. We all have had our share of days when we just don't want to get out of bed lately.

Except, well, I was slightly hungover.

You see, I had been on a virtual happy hour spree. I was on a self-quarantine high with back-to-back-to-back with virtual happy hours — four days in a row. I was popular, and it felt good. The invites kept coming in. Some conflicted; others were too early; some too late. I kept accepting what I could. Between my kids' school Zoom meetings and my happy hour invites, I was having a hard time keeping track. Nevertheless, I was there to happy hour.

Some with my husband, some without, some when he just popped in and made a guest appearance. We waited until the kids were fast asleep downstairs so I could crack open my new discovery: Rose Cider (in a can from Austin, then in a can from Brooklyn), and him with his new Scotches and large ice cubes. I endured ten hours of trying to understand my 7-year-old's assignment of vertices and edges, working hard to stay engaged on a 2.5-hour leadership call, and listening to my kids' rendition of Elsa and Anna while trying to answer a dozen or more emails.

Rose Cider never tasted so freaking good.

The truth is, I had never attended so many happy hours pre-COVID-19. I probably only drank once or, at most, twice a week. And I never drank at home unless we had friends over for dinner. It was too easy.

I didn't need to coordinate with my husband for childcare coverage. I didn't have to dress up; I have been makeup-free for 14 days and counting. I didn't have to get the bartender's attention at the crowded bar (never easy for a petite person); I didn't have to ask if they had a sweet Riesling on the menu or what appetizers were available. I didn't have to save seats for friends, sprawling out my jacket, my wallet, my lip-gloss, and my car keys. I didn't have to be on my "one-drink limit," if I was driving.

I just moved from one end of the couch to another. Tossed the work laptop aside. Hit Facetime. Propped the phone against a cushion, sometimes two cushions to balance the phone just right. So everyone could clearly see one of the five identical gray T-shirts I owned. And there I was, happy hour-ing away.

It's been too easy.

Monday's headache as we entered another week of trying to find our new normal reminded me of setting some guidelines for myself. As Governor Cuomo continues to remind all of us in his daily press briefings, this was going to get a lot worse before it got a lot better. Clearly I needed to pace myself with these virtual happy hours.

So I don't need to attend every virtual happy hour invite I receive. No FOMO. Only JOMO. (coined by Oprah as the Joy Of Missing Out.) It's okay to decline with my deepest regrets.

I shouldn't do back-to-back-to-back happy hours. Never a good idea. And Sunday, well it was still a school night and back to work — I mean back to the laptop — on Monday.

I should concentrate my efforts on staying connected with my community. If we haven't spoken in a year, maybe it's not the time to do the virtual happy hour. Maybe it's a yes to the virtual happy hour if it took COVID-19 to make us realize we should have been in closer touch. Otherwise, we can meet up when we are finally allowed to meet up. In a crowded bar with a bad glass of Chardonnay (oh how I never thought I would miss those days of crappy social interaction.)

I should have the same rule I did with live happy hours. No more than two a week, because I wanted to be able to put my kids to bed. Not sure if that one will stick. But I'll try.

I am running low on Rose Cider cans. So one can per virtual happy hour is a good rule of thumb. (Until I am able to safely replenish my stash.)

In place of drinking Rose Cider cans, other coping mechanisms include re-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm (starting again with Season 1) writing for SWAAY, eating Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream Chips, watching 90 Day Fiancée, trying The Wire again (never made it past Episode 1), calling our family on FaceTime, and sending some cards in the mail (writing cards is apparently a lost art form.)

So please don't invite me to another virtual happy hour.

And if you do, that's okay. I'll likely still accept and show up with my Swell bottle. Don't worry, this time there's only water in it.

3 Min Read

Black LGBTQ Woman Powerhouse Launches Vegan Cosmetics Line

I am a proud Black business owner carrying a line of lip colors for the woman who wants to shine. At Vatarie Cosmetics you can find cruelty-free and vegan lip care products, including clear lip gloss and liquid matte lipsticks. The line is still under development, so there are more products in the making that you'll hear more about soon!

My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe.

About Leticia

I have worked my way into my entrepreneurial career as I did not come from money. The goal of my cosmetic line is to bring excitement to everyone who tries the line. My products are high-quality and it is my dream to take my brand into high-end storefronts across the nation and even across the globe. I believe that with added makeup and a good set of threads, anybody can confidently face the world. I am a proud and firm supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and a proud member and supporter of the LGBTQIA community.

There have been plenty of hardships that I have had to face throughout my entire life, the most recent being the recent death of my father who passed far too soon. I have never allowed these hardships to deter me, and won't start now. I will continue to progress and work hard to build my business, knowing that this is what my father would have wanted.

About the Vatarie Line: What It's All About

Upon launching the line, I had the mission of inspiring every human to find their inner beauty and to have fun along the way. With this in mind, my products are designed for people of all genders, races, religions, and creeds. The Vatarie line will have more to offer customers very soon as I am continually working on developing products and expanding the line. In addition to the lip colors currently offered, the line will soon include highlighters, eyeshadows, and new lip gloss additions.

I believe that no one needs makeup to validate themselves, and we are all beautiful on our own. I do believe, though, that makeup can make life a lot more fun. Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness. Sometimes all we need to change our moods and get away from that darkness is something to help us feel better and more vibrant — this is where a pop of makeup and a well put together outfit can really make an impact.

Now more than ever we are living in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness.

I encourage everybody to embrace their inner beauty and inner style, and express themselves no matter what. My line of products is inspired by high fashion and designed to make a bold statement. The running theme across my products is empowerment at every stage and level. I create products that make my customers feel happy, and I ensure I am happy myself with my products before I release every single one. There is no place for cutting corners as I believe in producing the highest quality product.

I bring my sense of humor and quirky personality into my products and you can see this in the names of each item. Take the lip color "Blood Money," which signifies all the money, tears, sweat, and yes, blood that was put into the brand. Let me tell you, it was hard work, and it still is hard work, but at the end of the day, it fulfills me to know the type of quality I am providing. It gives me great pride to create a line of legendary products that will positively affect someone and bring them to a place of self-love and acceptance.

About the Past that Gives My Business Meaning

I have struggled over the years with mental abuse that has left me feeling as if "I wasn't enough." Added to that, being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.

Coming from a broken home, my family struggled with addiction, making my entire childhood a miserable nightmare. My mother abandoned us as she was being physically abused, and it was up to us the kids to do everything necessary to take care of the home and each other. We eventually ended up living with my grandmother in Miami, Florida. At a very young age, I had to endure physical and mental abuse and was locked up. At the age of 22, I lost my younger sister to gun violence and found myself raising her one-year-old son as my own.

Being a Black woman in an industry that is predominantly dominated by other races, I had to work harder to get to where I am today.

While my past was a rough one, it is what has made me the strong, independent, and vibrant woman I am today. That woman strives to be her best every day and works tirelessly to provide a line of only the best cosmetics products. I couldn't see this while I was living through those bad situations and struggling to grow up, but I can look back and see how I was made more resilient because of my hardships.

As I grieve over my father's recent passing, I become stronger. It is this added personal strength that will push me forward in everything I do and will be reflected in my work ethic and in the development of new products for my Vatarie line of cosmetics.